The release of colonial files by the Forieign and Commonwelath Office, some referring to the expulsion of the Chagos Islanders, has provoked a strong reaction as well as suspicion about the validity of previously-released documets. Key points are raised in letters published by the Guardian under the theme Conspiracies and the legacy of empire.
Archive for April, 2012
Secret files from British colonial rule – once thought lost – have been released by the government, one year after they came to light in a High Court challenge to disclose them. Some of the papers cover controversial episodes, including the expulsion of the Chagossians from their homeland. They also reveal efforts to destroy and reclassify sensitive files. The Foreign Office says it is now releasing “every paper” it can. But academics say the Foreign Office’s “failure” to deliver the archive for decades has created a “legacy of suspicion”.
The first batch of papers reveals efforts to deport Chagos islanders from the British Indian Ocean Territories and was discussed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on 18th April 2012, where Philippa Gregory, a Patron of the UK Chagos Support Association, commented:
“They are perfectly clear that they are lying. One official talks about telling a whopping fib or even a little fib, depending on how many [Chagossians] they are trying to pretend don’t exist.
It’s this kind of sporty, jolly hockey sticks attitude, like it’s all a bit of a game; like we are still in the Empire; like it’s a bit of fun to go to a foreign country, destroy their lives…The decision that was taken on this day, that has never been rescinded, destroyed the lives of that community.”
There’s a rare chance to see international (sort of) football in Surrey’s Godalming Town FC next month. The Chagos Islands team will play the Principality of Sealand on Saturday 5 May.
Kick off is at 2:30, it’s £3 to get in, including a programme and access to the clubhouse afterwards to watch the FA Cup Final.
The petition to the US government demanding justice for the Chagossians has passed the 25,000 mark – meaning we’ll get an answer from the Obama administration!
In fact, it’s now reached more than 28,000. Keep sharing the link and let’s see how many more we can get.
More from Sean Carey in the New Statesman here.